Posted in Entertainment, Spirituality, TV, Universe

A Ghostly Book Adventure

20150314_204204I just finished reading “I am Haunted: Living Life Through the Dead” by Zak Bagans, producer and lead investigator for the television series Ghost Adventures on the Travel Channel. I have to say that this was by far the strangest experience I have ever had reading a book.

I have been a fan of Ghost Adventures for years. When I was teaching photography to high school students, every October I would teach the students how to create their own ghostly images through long exposure and the use of tripods. I would show clips from the television series to engage the students and aid with their storytelling process (we would pretend we were investigating hauntings at the high school). My former students still mention this show and the ghost photos assignment as a fond memory from their high school experience. So when I saw that Zak Bagans had penned an autobiography I knew I had to read it (though now I know this is actually his second book).

I guess I should also mention that I am an empathic intuitive medium. I have been seeing and talking to spirits since I was a kid. In recent years, I have been working on honing my skills to help myself and my loved ones (I don’t do readings for profit). In recent weeks, with the passing of my grandmother, my abilities have become stronger. Reading Zak’s book made me wonder if my sight was beginning to change once again or if my mind was playing tricks on me (extremely vivid imagination, perhaps).

I started reading the book late in the evening before bed (perhaps a mistake on my part). I could actually hear Zak’s voice in my head as if he were reading it to me. I could also relate to some of his stories in regards to his own sensitivities. (I didn’t know that he once lived in my hometown of Detroit). I was excited, thinking this was going to be a fun read since I was already connecting to the stories.

I have always been the type of reader who gets immersed in a book but rarely does that happen when I am reading an autobiography. With this book, the visuals really started to take over and I found myself in the locations as if I was alongside Zak, Aaron, Jay and Billy. I could see the location, smell the dankness at times, hear the sounds and feel the spirits–4D reading, in a sense. As I was pulled deeper into the stories and the locations, I could hear my own guides warning me about protection and dark entities. It would get so intense that I would have to stop reading and light some palo santo in my room for cleansing. This has never happened to me before.

This was all occurring the first night. I did my best to shake off the feelings so I could go to sleep. At 3:05 am, I woke to shadow figures in my room telling me they were there because of my connection to Zak Bagans. I don’t have a connection to Zak. I watch his show and I am reading his book, that is it. They kept trying to tell me it was more and that I needed to get him to come back to Los Angeles. I needed to take him to Devil’s Gate Dam. I kept telling them no, to leave me alone. I started praying, chanting, calling in good spirits to make the shadows go away. I used my shamanic techniques to make them leave and they warned they would be back. Then the good spirits told me I had to warn Zak about protection, teach him what he needed to do and don’t let him go to Devil’s Gate. Then they sprayed Florida water on me and that is when I woke up, for real. It was all a dream, at least I hoped it was all a dream–a weird, vivid dream.

The next day, my clairvoyance/mediumship teacher posted a video in regards to psychic protection–just a weird coincidence.

I continued to read the book. I reached a section where Zak discussed going to a salt mine for a breathing treatment. I was actually in the Salt Studio in Pasadena for a therapy session in the salt room to treat my own allergies and asthma when I read this particular passage–another weird coincidence.

I continued on with the book but took a break after reading about the exorcist house in St. Louis. I was playing around on social media and Instagram when I noticed a childhood friend of mine posted an image of Linda Blair from the film The Exorcist. Again, just another weird coincidence.

But I pushed through and finished the book. It was an interesting book, as a fan of the show, but a hard read when I felt like I was spiritually put into all of these places along with the GAC. I had to consistently cleanse my room and wear protective jewelry. I slept with Holy Water near my bed. It was just a really strange experience–a book has not affected me like this since I tried to read “The Exorcist” in the sixth grade (I never finished the book because of all the nightmares it gave me and I wound up throwing it away at school).

The day after finishing “I am Haunted,” I decided to drop in on a mediumship class where my teacher spent the first half of the class going over psychic protection–a final weird coincidence.

Posted in Life, Spirituality, Universe

I’m Free!!

My Death Arrow
My Death Arrow

Seven weeks ago, I started taking a level one Peruvian Shamanism course at The Green Man Store in North Hollywood. I have always been fascinated by Native American traditions and knowing that my Great Grandmother went to extremes in order to go to Peru (and possibly died there), Peruvian Shamanism just seemed like the appropriate next step in my spiritual journey.

But something was wrong. I didn’t feel like I was really connecting and I wasn’t sure why. Actually, it felt like my life was continually getting worse over the course of the class. My depression was coming back–it had been over a year since I had been in such a funk. My family on the other side of the country was taking turns in the hospital. My worry nerves were in overload. I try to be a fixer for my loved ones. It was hard facing the fact that there was nothing that I could do to make things better. Even worse, I was faced with learning that someone I cared deeply for didn’t want my help, he just wanted me to go away and let him be alone and depressed. Then this week culminated in a clusterfuck that just pushed me to the very edge. But tonight, I finally understood why.

The last seven weeks were so magical that I wasn’t even aware of the transformation that was happening in my life. I thought I was depressed and detached but I was actually healing. All of my issues were coming to the surface–one right after the other until they were all before me in this dark, massive mountain of denial. Then just two days ago, an Opossum literally forced me to see the light.

The apartment building next to mine has a motion light right by their dumpster. It shines right in my window whenever anyone throws out their trash. I was sitting on my couch when I noticed the light come on but I didn’t hear the sound of the dumpster. Maybe it wasn’t the light after all. Maybe it was someone using a flashlight and shining it outside my apartment. I grabbed my baseball bat and swung open the door–I was not going to allow someone to steal my gnomes again (whole other story). To my surprise, there was no one there but a rather large opossum sitting on the fence, staring at me. There was no hissing or running away. He just looked me in the eye. I greeted him and he appeared to acknowledge me with a nod before he switched directions on the fence and scurried off–heading West (which actually has meaning to me now).

I looked up the meaning of an opossum spirit animal and it talked about needing to come up with a strategy. Opossums are great actors–playing whatever part needed for survival. I finally realized that I have been doing that for a very long time. As I read more and more, I realized this was actually perfect and made complete sense in accordance to my current life status of chaos.

The following day, after the encounter with Mr. Opossum, I went to Hahamongna Watershed Park (where Devil’s Gate Dam is located). I was on my way home from work and I needed to get sticks to make death arrows for my final shamanism class. Once I found the perfect specimens, I decided to walk over to Devil’s Gate Dam, since I was there. On the power lines over what used to be a water filled dam (drought), I saw two crows looking at me. One stayed and the other flew away. I instantly thought, just like the two men in my life–one just left. So I looked up the meanings of the crow totem and for this particular situation, I would say I was being told to focus on my intuition and sight. I also believe the one crow leaving represents the loss of the male “friend; ” a loss that turned into a life-changing moment for me.

It was at this time that I noticed the sun had set and I better get back to my car. The park closes at sunset. I ran back just in time to see the police leave, locking the gates behind them. Yep, I was locked inside “Devil’s Gate Dam.” Just as I was about to lose it, this kind jogger came up to me and said that the officer knew he was jogging and had put the lock on the gate but it wasn’t actually locked. He kindly opened the gates for me so I could escape my imaginary park prison.

For me, that was the cherry on top of my mountain of denial. Little did I know, it was the last bit I needed to finally make my real “death arrow.” A death arrow is a representation of your need to bring death to certain parts of your life or your past to make way for new beginnings. So when I got home, I pulled out my yarn, matching the chakra colors, and took all my frustrations out on the making of my death arrow for our fire ceremony on the last day of class. I took the picture I had of myself and my former friend, wrapping it around the arrow. I used blue and green yarn to secure it as well as marking the love and communication problems that occurred throughout that relationship. It was finally time to let it all go.

I carefully chose each color and the order, wanting to make sure I dealt with everything that had surfaced over the last seven weeks. There it was, my real “death arrow.” I was so proud and beyond ready to let go. Bring on the new beginnings.

For the first time in weeks, I am happy and bubbly. I have high amounts of energy and I feel reconnected with my sight. Tonight, when I threw my death arrow into the fire during our ceremony, I got my fresh start. The heaviness, the depression, the self-doubt–it is all gone. I feel like a new person. I feel like I have a new outlook on life. I suddenly feel the need to dance around to “Disco Inferno.” I also have a clear mind as I begin creating a strategy to fix the other problems in my life. No more denial or “acting.” I know what I want and I am going after it because I’m free. I don’t have the past holding me back any longer. I am a phoenix rising from the ashes and I am ready to soar!

Posted in Life, Spirituality, Writing

The Story of Devil’s Gate Dam

After the strange feelings, and weird structures, that I experienced yesterday at the Devil’s Gate Dam, I decided to do a little bit of research on the site.

Devil’s Gate Dam

The Devil’s Gate Dam was the first flood control dam in Los Angeles County.  Built in 1920, the dam is located at the narrowest spot in the Arroyo Seco.  In the section where they wanted to construct the dam, there was a rock formation that resembled the profile of a devil, hence the naming of the dam as the Devil’s Gate.

There are so many urban legends about this area that it is hard to know where to begin.  The main urban legend claims that this area, which some call the Arroyo triangle because it includes Devil’s Gate Dam, Suicide Bridge & the Cobb Estate, is one of the seven portals to Hell.  There are claims that the Native Americans even believed this was a gateway to the afterlife and they avoided this area.  Then there are the mysterious disappearances and murders of children, the majority are unsolved, who were hiking, camping or riding their bikes through the area.

Others claim that the portal to hell opened when Jack Parsons came into the picture in the 1940s.  Jack Parsons, a rocket scientist who co-founded the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL, located just north of the dam), was an infamous occultist with ties to Aleister Crowley and fellow occultist (and Scientology founder) L. Ron Hubbard.

On the Dam with JPL to the North.

Together, Parsons, Crowley and Hubbard believed that the Devil’s Gate area held great magical power and energy that could increase their own powers.  Many believe this is why Parsons chose this area as the location for JPL.  It was the perfect place for these three men to conduct their magical rituals and work on their project that was referred to as “Babylon Working,” a summoning of the entity known as Babylon that would aid them in the creation of an “anti-Christ,” a child who would eventually destroy mankind.

I’m not sure if it is really a portal to Hell but I can say, after my visit, that there is something dark and sinister there.  But for me, I felt it more in the area south of the Dam, the part of the Arroyo Seco that will lead you to “Suicide Bridge.”  The area to the north with the beautiful view of the mountains and all of the willow trees in the canyon, it seemed more serene.  But I didn’t actually walk down in that area.

This is one of the Obelisks located on the north side of the dam. You can see Parsons’ JPL in the distance.

Though I did think it was strange to see obelisks on that side of the dam.  In ancient times, a pair of obelisks were placed in front of a pylon, a greek term for a monumental gateway.  There were two obelisks but they were located off to the side, closer to the east side of the dam.  Actually, now that I think about it, the obelisks were on either side of a rock formation.  I may have to go back there for further investigation.

The south side of the dam is the part that freaked me out the most.  In order to get there from the top of the dam, you had to walk through this dark tunnel under Oak Grove Drive.  Walking through it just gave me the chills and it was 92 degrees out.  As I reached the edge and looked into the canyon, I couldn’t see the dam.  There was a rocky path to the left.  It probably wasn’t my best idea but I decided to walk down that path, regretting my decision once it was too late to turn back.  The path was covered with rocks, making the path hard to navigate and it was quite slippery.  I started to think that maybe the rocks were there to deter people from going down into the canyon.  But it was too late for me.  Then half way down, out in the distance amongst the trees, I noticed ropes hanging.  It looked like those old lynching trees that were in the history books.  I immediately looked up the trail, wondering if I should turn back.  Every instinct was telling me to turn back but the writer in me was telling me to continue on my path.  I listened to the writer.  And it helped to see people jogging on a path below.

Ropes hanging from the trees on the south side of the Dam.

I finally reached the bottom and to my right, I saw a clearing and a trash can.  I stopped dead in my tracks when I reached the clearing.  There was this wooden structure in front of me.  I now knew that the ropes were actually attached to swings, high up on the structure–too high for anyone to actually swing on.  Then I also noticed that there were symbols attached to the ropes in the front part of the structure.  Instantly, my mind thought these were satanic symbols of some sort.  On my hike to the Dam, I kept seeing the roman numeral 4 painted on all the rocks.  That could just be teenagers messing around but this, this was something significant.  There was a warning sign posted on the front, right beam of the structure.  But I couldn’t move.  Everything inside of me, my instincts and the writer, told me not to go toward the structure.  I used my phone to take a picture and then I turned around and continued on my journey.

But I couldn’t get the weird symbols out of my head.  It looked like an equals sign, with an X (multiplication) under it and a plus sign that had been stretched into a cross.  All three symbols were tied together on the same ropes, creating one big symbol.  If this were Burning Man, this would be an art piece making a commentary on education and religion (the swings for school aged kids)–now this is my interpretation.  But when something like this is located in an area called “Devil’s Gate” and is considered one of the seven portals to hell, I’m pretty sure it isn’t an art piece.  Where are the Supernatural Winchester boys when you need them?

I am definitely going to need to do some more research on this area and the symbols I saw.  There just might be another trip over there in my future.  If you are interested in other stories about the Devil’s Gate Dam, check out the links listed below.

The weird wooden structure with the swings and symbol

Links about the History & Urban Legends of the Devil’s Gate Dam:

Posted in Exploration, Life, movies, Personal Challenge, Photography, Southern California, Spirituality, Tourism, Travel, Universe, Writing

A Dam Gateway to Hell?: Personal Challenge, Day Five (9.21.12)

Today I decided to explore another place that I pass every day on my way home from work, the Devil’s Gate Dam in Pasadena.  I know there are tons of urban legends surrounding this particular area but per usual, I refuse to do any concrete research before visiting the area.  I don’t want to taint my experience.

First of all, I had a hard time figuring out exactly how I could get to the Devil’s Gate Dam.  There is no real park or parking lot, at least one that I could find.  One of the website directories, I think it was home locator or something like that, that sent me to a dead-end street.  Then another site sent me to Hahamongna Watershed Park.  When I arrived there, All I saw was a string of picnic tables. I was hungry and convinced I was in the wrong place so I decided to head home to eat and look up specific directions on how to get to Devil’s Gate Dam.

As fate would have it, I was in the right place without even knowing it.  Hahamongna Watershed Park is the correct location for visiting the Devil’s Gate Dam.  I parked all the way at the end (the last parking area before the round-about).  I honestly had no clue where to go.. There were no signs marking the trails.  No maps.  I could see several different trails but i figured it would be best to just head toward the 210 freeway–Devil’s Gate in parallel to the freeway.

So I followed a dirt path, jumped over horse created road apples, and eventually wound up at a paved road.  I had no idea if I was headed in the right direction.  And I was the only one on the path so I couldn’t even ask a local if they knew how to get to the Dam.  I decided I would just follow the paved road and see where it would take me.  It was a good thing I did because it took me exactly where I wanted to go.  After crossing over an old, rusty bridge (of course that would lead to a place called Devil’s Gate Dam), I arrived at the beginning of the Flint Wash Bridge.  To my left, I could see what used to be the wash area but it was all dried.  You could see a staircase that went from the bottom of the wash up to the top of the bridge.  In the distance, I noticed these strange obelisks, in the dried up wash bed.  I wonder why obelisks?  I made my way across the bridge and half way across, I noticed that the wash and JPL were to my left so I crossed over to see what was to my right.  When I looked down, I realized it was the Devil’s Gate Dam.  The Flint Wash Bridge is the top of the Devil’s Gate Dam.  I was above my destination and I had no idea where I needed to go next in order to get a picture of the front of the Dam, a view many see from the 210 freeway to the south.  I finished crossing the bridge and saw the sign for the “Devil’s Gate Dam.”  To the north, there were trails leading to JPL but I looked to the south, the area where I wanted to go and all I saw as a tunnel.  The tunnel, under Oak Grove Drive, took me to a fenced off area with another Devil’s Gate sign and a locked staircase that lead down to the Dam.  I couldn’t actually see the Dam but to my left, I saw a steep rocky path that would take be down to the bottom of the Arroyo Seco Riverbed and hopefully to an area where I could see the front of the Devil’s Gate Dam.

I took a deep breath and started to make my way down the steep rocky path.  There was no guard rail so one little slip on these rocks and I would be free-falling down the cliff to my right.  My heart was pounding.  I was terrified of falling.  I inched my way down, occasionally slipping a little on the rocks.  I kept telling myself this was a bad idea but I had already started my descent and it was too late to turn back.  On my way down, in the distance, I noticed these strange ropes hanging amongst the trees.  It almost looked like a hanging tree that they used to talk about in the history books; the kind of hanging trees used by the KKK for lynching.  I kept chanting, “this is a bad idea,” over and over until I finally reached the bottom path where I had spotted a few men jogging earlier.  The men were coming from an area to the right so I thought perhaps that would take me to the front of Devil’s Gate.  There was a clearing ahead and before me I saw this large wooden structure (there was a warning sign on it but I was too freaked out to approach it and read it).  This was the structure I had seen in the distance with the dangling ropes.  The ropes were actually attached to what appeared to be swings.  And in the front of the structure was a dangling symbol of some sort.  I will have to see if I can figure out what the symbol meant but my gut tells me it probably has something to do with the occult.  I got the chills looking at the structure and just wanted to get away from it.  So I continued on the path but it led to the riverbed.  Not wanting to cross slippery rocks, I turned around and tried to see where the path would take me–the same direction in which the other joggers were headed.

The first thing I noticed was a wooden plank placed as a makeshift bridge to go over a small pond.  I crossed the plank and suddenly noticed a small structure to my left.  I looked like a small wooden fort.  I decided it wasn’t wise to inspect it and see who was living there.  So I continued on the path where I saw a few more joggers and bike riders, all male.  I managed to find a spot along the riverbed where I could catch a glimpse of the Dam but it wasn’t the camera angle I wanted.  My instincts told me that this wasn’t the right direction.  I needed to go back up to the bridge.

The hike back up to the bridge was more terrifying than the hike down.  I wasn’t wearing the right shoes to be climbing up slippery rocks and soft dirt.  I did my bet to sprint and hop up the cliff as fast as I could.  I was too afraid of slipping on one of the rocks and sliding down the cliff.  I had never been so happy to see a barbed wire fence before in my life but when I reached the top of the path, I was ecstatic.  The sun was setting and it was starting to get dark.  The graffiti before me expressed the way I felt.  It was an arrow pointing to the tunnel under Oak Grove Drive and it said “Hide. Live.”  That is exactly what I wanted to do so I ran through the tunnel.

I sat down on the walkway along the Flint Wash Bridge.  After calming myself down and catching my breath, I realized there was a beautiful view of the sunset before me.  Any fears I had washed away with the beauty of the skyline before me.  I decided it was time to hike back to my car so I started back across the bridge.  To my left, I noticed that there was another tunnel under Oak Grove Drive.  I decided that I might as well check it out while I was there, then I will hike back to my car.

I made my way through the tunnel and when I reached the end, my heart started to pound.  This was the view I was looking for, the front of Devil’s Gate Dam.  It had this dark and sinister feel, the polar opposite of what I had experienced on the other side of the tunnel with the majestic sunset.  I took a few pictures through the fence before I noticed another tunnel area that offered an even better view of the Dam.  I stood there for a few seconds before I ducked down into the small tunnel area.  It was an uneasy feeling so I just snapped a picture of the Dam and got out of there as fast as I could.  My heart pounded as I ran through the tunnel but I instantly relaxed once I saw the pink clouds in the sky over the San Gabriel Mountains.  This was the light, the beauty at the end of this dark and sinister tunnel.

So on the north side of the Flint Wash Bridge, you have the beautiful wilderness with JPL and the San Gabriel Mountains in the distance.  It is a feast for the eyes and the sunset view with the bridge is the perfect setting for a romantic moment in a movie.  But when you turn to the south side and make your way through the dark tunnels, you enter a world that would provide inspiration for Hitchcock and Stephen King with its dark, suspenseful and intensely dramatic undertones.

So now that I am safe and sound in my own home, it is time to do my research and see if I can find out why an area can go from romanticized beauty to horror movie setting.  Stay tuned.

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